This guide is intended for students and researchers studying South Asia at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from any field may find it useful.
Use this guide to find out about books and online resources for South Asian studies, including printed collections, ebooks, ejournals and bibliographic databases.
tel: +44 (0)01865 277208
(Modern South Asia)
tel: +44 (0)1865 277206
(Head of the Bodleian Libraries' Oriental Section & Indian Institute Librarian)
tel: +44 (0)1865 278203
Other useful online resources
Abhilekh Patal - web portal for the National Archives of India
Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge - information about the Centre and its library and archive
CrossAsia - new home for SAVIFA, the virtual South Asia library created by Heidelberg University
Digital repository of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics - digitised items from the Dhananjayrao Gadgil Library at the GIPE, particularly useful for historic South Asian government publications
Digital South Asia Library - dictionaries, maps, statistical information and more
Districts of India - site developed by the National Informatics Centre to provide district-level information and links to official district websites
Endangered Archives Programme - link to the website of the Endangered Archives programme, hosted by the British Library
ICRISAT-District Level Data - District Level Database (DLD) for Indian agriculture and allied sectors maintained by ICRISAT
Indian Culture - a platform that hosts data of cultural relevance from various repositories and institutions all over India, including digitised books
Indian district database - district-level data from census and agricultural sources between 1961 and 1991
Kolkata Soundscapes - a UGC sponsored archival project at Jadavpur University aiming to "view, analyse and record the city of Kolkata through the immeasurable and countless sounds that incessantly permeate its city spaces"
Medical History of British India, National Library of Scotland - digitised government publications from the National Library of Scotland's collections, relating to disease, public health and medical research in South Asia, between around 1850 and 1950
Naval Kishore Press Bibliographie - bibliographic database for books and journals published or distributed by the Naval Kishore Press
Open Data Pakistan - Open Data Pakistan is a collaborative effort of the National Center for Big Data and Cloud Computing (NCBC), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Open Government Data Platform (India) - data portal of the Government of India
Pahar - Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset - digitised Himalaya-related books, journals and maps
Pakistan Data Portal - a joint initiative of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (Islamabad) and Alif Ailaan
Panjab Digital Library - digitised resources on Panjab
Rajya Marathi Vikasa Sasthana - organisation's website with links to digitised books
SAGAR - South Asia research journal - as well as the online journal, includes an interesting "review of archives" section
Surveying Empires: the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India - online map resource giving information about the built heritage in West Bengal associated with the Great Trigonometrical Survey
Tasveer Ghar - digital network of South Asian popular visual culture
War in Asia - online platform for histories, heritage and memory of WW2 in Asia, website of the international and interdisciplinary network, the “War Memoryscapes in Asia Partnership” (WARMAP), led by the University of Essex and funded by the UK’s Leverhulme Trust
West Bengal Public Library Network's digital repository - digitised books from the West Bengal Public Library Network
The South Asian collections cover material relating to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bhutan. The Bodleian has one of the most important collection of Mughal paintings in the world and is the repository of some 8,700 Sanskrit manuscripts, the largest known collection outside the Indian sub-continent. The printed book collection covers the history and culture of South Asian regions from prehistory to the present day. The fields of language, literature, religion, history and politics are particularly strongly represented.
More information is available about special collections relating to South Asia.
The library also holds an extensive collection of government publications from South Asia. These are mostly from the pre-1947 period, but we have continued to collect important publications up to the present day, including census publications, statistical series and gazetteers.
Responsibility for the South Asian collections is shared between a number of locations within the Bodleian Libraries. The main reference collection is on open access in the reference area accessed via the Charles Wendell David Reading Room at the Weston Library. Other important open shelf collections can be found in the Upper Camera, the Oriental Institute Library and the Social Science Library. The most heavily used government publications - censuses, gazetteers and Indian parliamentary debates - are on open access in the Charles Wendell David Reference Area. Other titles are mostly stored at the Oriental Institute Library, where they are being catalogued to a high level on SOLO and are being gradually moved to the Bodleian's Book Storage Facility.
All manuscripts are read in the Charles Wendell David Reading Room at the Weston Library.
Responsibility for Sri Lankan materials is shared with the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, now part of the Weston Library. Oxford’s major collection of books on South Asian painting, textiles and crafts is found in the Eastern Art collection at the Sackler Library. Indian legislation, law reports and text books on Indian law are kept at the Bodleian Law Library which also has a basic collection of law reports for Pakistan and a small collection on the laws of Sri Lanka. The Social Science Library has research and teaching collections on South Asian development studies. The primary loan collections of material on South Asia required for teaching purposes are held at the the Oriental Institute Library, the History Faculty Library, the Social Science Library and the Balfour Library
Many printed books on South Asia in European and South Asian languages are now catalogued on SOLO but there are still many titles, particularly in South Asian languages, that are accessible only through the Indian Institute Library card catalogue, currently housed at the Oriental Institute Library. The Library uses the ALA-LC system of romanization.